After the long delay, the schedule for the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) has been announced. Moved out of India due to a spike of coronavirus infection in the home country, the 13th edition of the cash-rich tournament will be played on September 19, with defending champions Mumbai Indians to kick-start the competition against Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi.
Eight teams – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab – will play each other twice in a round-robin format. The top four in the points table after 56 league matches of IPL 2020 will then move on to the knockout stages.
Dubai will host its first game on Sunday when Delhi Capitals take on Kings XI Punjab followed by the third match on Monday between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore. “The season will kickstart on 19th September in Abu Dhabi with a blockbuster clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings,” the Board said in a statement.
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After Sunrisers Hyderabad’s clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the IPL action will shift to Sharjah on September 22 where Rajasthan Royals will host Chennai Super Kings. The league phase will run across 46 days, with the last match of the league to be played between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians in Sharjah on November 3.
There will be 10 double-headers with the first match starting at 3:30PM IST. The first double-header is on October 3 — RCB vs RR in Abu Dhabi, and DC vs KKR in Sharjah. The venues for the playoffs and the IPL 2020 final will be announced later, while the final match of the tournament is slated for November 10. All eight franchises have now started training after their seven-day self-isolation.
The upcoming 53-day edition is by far the longest in the history of the league and will be staged behind closed doors with slight possibility that reduced crowd may be allowed in the latter part of the tournament. It is also going to be held in bio secure bubble with the regular testing to be conducted for both the players and staff as part of the health protocols.
While Mumbai Indians head into the tournament as hot favourites the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders Delhi Capitals and Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. are also being tipped as favourites to win IPL 2020. The matches, which traditionally start at 8 PM IST, will now begin half-an-hour early to avoid a late finish as per the IPL 2020 schedule.
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